I suppose it would be reasonable to assume that Boris Johnson is no fan of ex-Labour leader Tony Blair. Now, though, Boris has given the ex-Prime Minister both barrels by claiming that Blair ‘needs professional psychiatric help’.
In an interview with Sky News, Blair claimed that the current instability in Iraq was caused not by his war but by a failure by the West to deal with the situation in Syria (as if waltzing into that country like we did elsewhere a few years back would have been a great idea).
Blair told Sky’s Dermot Murnaghan: “Some people will say ‘well if we hadn’t removed Saddam in 2003 we wouldn’t have the problem today in Iraq and the reason I think that is profoundly mistaken is this: since 2011 there have been these Arab revolutions sweeping across the whole of the region – Tunisa, Libya, Yemen, Egypt, Bahrain, next door to Iraq in Syria – and we can see what would have happened if we left Saddam there in 2003.
“We have left Bashar Assad in Syria. The result is that there have now in the last three years in Syria been virtually the same number of people killed in Syria as in the whole of Iraq. You have had nine million people displaced from Syria, you have chaos and instability being pushed across the region.”
It would be fair to say that not everyone agrees with the ex-PM – and Boris, in particular, had a few harsh words to say. Writing in his Daily Telegraph column, the Mayor of London said Mr Blair and then-US president George W Bush had shown “unbelievable arrogance” to believe toppling Saddam Hussein would not result in instability.
He even went as far as accusing the ex-Labour leader of having sent British forces into the bloody conflict in part to gain personal ‘grandeur’.
Bozza said: “Somebody needs to get on to Tony Blair and tell him to put a sock in it, or at least to accept the reality of the disaster he helped to engender. Then he might be worth hearing.
“I have come to the conclusion that Tony Blair has finally gone mad. In discussing the disaster of modern Iraq he made assertions that are so jaw-droppingly and breathtakingly at variance with reality that he surely needs professional psychiatric help.”
And Sir Christopher Meyer, Britain’s ambassador to the US from 1997 to 2003, said the handling of the campaign against Saddam was “perhaps the most significant reason” for today’s violence.